News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: ABA backs stay-home exemption for legal services; PG&E to plead guilty in fire deaths

  • Print

covid symbol

Image from Shutterstock.

ABA: Exempt legal services from any US stay-home order

ABA President Judy Perry Martinez says legal services should be deemed essential and exempted from any national stay-home order. “The American people and U.S. business community must have access to the legal services they need—when they need them most, in this time of crisis,” Martinez wrote in a letter to the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Not all legal services can be provided remotely, Martinez added. In many states, clients must sign documents such as wills, powers of attorney and health care directives in person. In criminal cases, defense lawyers need to meet with detained individuals to provide confidential legal advice. (March 24 letter)

PG&E to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter

Pacific Gas & Electric has agreed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Camp Fire that killed 84 people and destroyed the town of Paradise, California. The announcement followed news that California Gov. Gavin Newsom is willing to approve the utility’s plan to pay $13.5 billion to resolve fire victims’ claims and emerge from bankruptcy. (The New York Times, the Recorder)

Lawyer is indicted in alleged Ponzi scheme targeting his clients

A Pennsylvania lawyer has been indicted for allegedly participating in a Ponzi scheme targeting his clients that caused $2.7 million in losses. The indictment alleges lawyer Todd Lahr of Nazareth used investor funds to pay his mortgage, his child’s school tuition, utility bills and other expenses. (Justice Department press release, the superseding indictment, Lehigh Valley Live, the Morning Call)

Judge tosses DOJ lawyer’s suit against the New York Times

U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick on Monday dismissed a defamation suit filed against the New York Times by a former Justice Department lawyer. The lawyer, Gwynn Kinsey, claimed the Times defamed him in a March 2018 article accusing him of groping an administrative assistant at a bar during a work-sanctioned event. Broderick said the story fairly summarized an intern’s declaration in a lawsuit against the Justice Department. (Law360, the New York Daily News)

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.